French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet, in 1673, were the
first Europeans of record to visit the region. In 1699 French settlers
established the first permanent settlement at Cahokia, near present day
East St. Louis.
Britain obtained the region at the end of the French and Indian War in
1763. Illinois became part of the Northwest Territory.
part of the state was settled first with the town of Shawneetown being
the largest community in 1830 with about 3,000 souls. Many farmers from
Kentucky and Tennessee moved to Southern Illinois in the 1830's to take
advantage of the $2 per acre excellent farm land being offered to homesteaders
by the government.
joined the Union on December 3, 1818 as the 21st State.